Judge Clears Way For Russell Nomination

Aug 14, 2018

Credit SD Legislative Research Council

The party challenging Republican State Senator Lance Russell’s re-nomination bid for a District 30 senate seat say they won’t appeal a circuit court’s decision.

That decision allows Russell’s name to appear on the November election ballot, even though he withdrew from the race in June.

 Russell resigned his nomination for re-election in District 30 for a chance at becoming the Republican party’s nominee for attorney general. South Dakota codified law states no candidate’s name shall appear on the ballot twice.

Russell failed to clinch the attorney general nomination at the state’s party convention. Meanwhile, the Republican candidate for district 30 position remained vacant. Russell was re-nominated to the state senate race, despite state law saying the party must pick a new nominee.

Hot Springs resident Heather Boche filed a lawsuit seeking clarification. Circuit court judge Patricia DeVaney issued a ruling stating Russell’s re-nomination is legal.

Jim Sword is Boche’s attorney. He says they’re disappointed, but respect the ruling.

“I’m sure, given the facts, that you’re going to ever have a case like this again,” Sword says. “It would be my hope that the legislature steps in a clarifies some of these confusions with the statutes. Or, maybe the parties and the candidates make decisions so that this type of thing gets avoided in the future.”

The judge points to state statute, which says the law shall be liberally interpreted so that no candidate shall be disqualified by a technicality.

Senator Russell could not be reached for comment.